I have been called too skinny. Which can be just as annoying as ‘too fat’ especially when it’s paired with comments suggesting I looked malnourished. I suppose I used to care a lot about my teeth when I was quite young, and also dancing ruined my feet – painful shoes, filled with blood, destroyed my toes all for the sake of managing a great pirouette.
Like many others, I’ve aspired to look like the photoshopped women you see in the media, simply because of the general admiration of certain beauty ideals which get hurled into our psyches from a young age. There’s no harm in these aspirations, until it becomes a weapon you use to hurt yourself with. I don’t like calling anyone, particularly women, who pay attention to their looks, vain. I just don’t think comparisons and the resulting low self esteem are particularly healthy, or a good use of one’s time.
If I had some advice, I would probably say that regardless of where you’re from, what colour your skin is, or what your build is, these physical factors are not standards by which anyone should judge you, least of all yourself. The moment you think someone does, or you see yourself doing it, ask yourself to what effect and why. If the reasons hurt you, or seem unfounded or incorrect, or unfair, then ignore them. It is not worth your time.
Do what is right for you, but actually do it. You’re gonna have to live your life in that body of yours, so you can choose to live it hating it, loving it, ignoring it, destroying it, nourishing it, so on and on and on. Self acceptance takes a long, long, long time, and self hatred takes less than a minute. Why choose the easier option?
Shreya Tanisha, 22, is a recent graduate of The University of Edinburgh and previously studied at the University of Arts London and Architectural Association School of Architecture. She’s lived in over seven different countries, and can confidently identify as a third culture kid, despite having a strong passion and interest in Indian society, where she was born and currently lives. She believes in art for social change.